Understanding the Motivation of Young Adults to Enlist and Pursue Military Leadership Studies to Become Professional Soldiers
Keywords:Soldier, Army, Military, Leadership, Motivation, Russia-Ukraine conflict
Since the beginning of 2005, conscription service in the Czech Republic ended, leading to the full professionalization of the Czech Armed Forces. Consequently, a career soldier system has been established. The purpose of this article is to identify the factors that motivated young adults, reflecting the specifics of the military profession, to join the army, as well as the factors that motivated them to apply to the Faculty of Military Leadership at the University of Defence for military studies. Data was collected through a semi-structured questionnaire completed by 179 respondents who were first-year military students at the University of Defence. This institution is the only military higher education establishment within the Czech Armed Forces, offering students comprehensive knowledge in the field of command and control. The questionnaire included both open-ended and closed-ended questions. In addition to their motivations, respondents also provided insights on how the Russia-Ukraine conflict influenced their decision to enlist in the army, as well as who supported or discouraged them from doing so. The results indicate that career growth, adventurous activities, job security, physical readiness, fieldwork, and interpersonal relations were among the most influential factors for the respondents. The majority of respondents agreed that the current security situation in the world supported their decision to become a soldier and strengthened their desire to defend their homeland. Parents, extended family, partners, and friends were the primary sources of support in their decision-making process. Just like any other employer, volunteer forces are seeking their own positions and competitive advantages in the labor market. Therefore, it is important for the defense sector to understand the motivations of future commanders to join and remain in the armed forces.